Fine-needle aspiration cytology of epithelioid angiosarcoma: a diagnostic dilemma

Diagn Cytopathol. 2005 Dec;33(6):429-33. doi: 10.1002/dc.20379.


A 28-year-old woman with a 2-yr history of unilateral chronic leg swelling, initially thought to be secondary to deep vein thrombosis, later thought to be due to congenital venous malformation, eventually developed a pelvic mass, which was biopsied by fine-needle aspiration. On the basis of cytologic features on smears, high-grade sarcoma was reported. The patient underwent surgery to resect the pelvic mass, which showed anastomosing vascular channels arising from external iliac vein in histology. However, the tumor cells unexpectedly showed strong and diffuse immunohistochemical expression of cytokeratin and epithelial membrane antigen. The case was sent for expert consultation, and the expert's opinion was epithelioid angiosarcoma. The expert's diagnosis was confirmed 2 yr later by local recurrence. The clinical presentation, cytology, histology, and immunohistochemistry of the current case and 15 other cases of epithelioid angiosarcoma found in the cytology literature are summarized. This case illustrates that morphology with clinicopathologic correlation tends to be a better guide than available special techniques.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Epithelioid Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Hemangiosarcoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemangiosarcoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Iliac Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Iliac Vein / pathology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Radiography
  • Vascular Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging